Wednesday, February 23, 2005

"Iwo Jima Anniversary"


When you think of Iwo Jima, you naturally think of the famous photo of Marines raising Old Glory atop the hill. But, you know... there's more to that story , which happened 60 years ago today.

There were actually two people there back then in 1945 with cameras; one with a 16 mm movie camera (Sgt.Bill Genaust)and the other with a still camera (AP photographer, Joe Rosenthal). They came to the battle site on seperate transports and didn't meet until 5 days later. In fact, that's actually the second flag that was raised, the other was smaller, so the Marines decided to use the bigger one and a metal pipe as a makeshift pole on top of the hill so all could see it.

As both cameramen arrived, Rosenthal positioned himself pretty much head-on and the Genaust to the right slightly. Genaust took about 198 frames of film until the camera ran out, and Rosenthal took the single shot with his still camera. Both films were sent right out to The Associated Press, but it took weeks to process the movie film. Rosenthal's shot was published on March 4th., and he went on to win a Pulitzer Prize for it. More fighting broke out, and the weather turned bad, and so Genaust finally laid down the camera and took up a weapon to help out, only to be killed nine days later when he and another soldier went into a cave on the island for shelter, and when he turned on his flashlight, there were enemy soldiers in there... and they opened fire. Marines burned out the cave with flame throwers and sealed the entrance.

But Sgt. Genaust's film was shown for years afterwards to raise the spirits of soldiers everywhere in the world. In fact, it's even shown today.

He was left sealed in the cave, to this day, with no plaque or burial marker, and it's even considered too dangerous to reopen to retrieve his body for the family back here in The States. The government didn't even give Genaust credit for his famous camera work until 40 years later.


And now you really know the rest of the story.

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